The owners meetings are going on down in Atlanta this week. Unlike a lot of gatherings of baseball dignitaries, we tend not to get much news out of them, however. We know the owners do things like light cigars with $100 bills and, I dunno, play games of chess on human-sized chess boards with lower-level front office employees as the game pieces, but otherwise they tend to be quiet events.
There will be some news out of Atlanta later this morning, though: Commissioner Rob Manfred will be given a five-year contract extension. The vote, Bob Nightengale reports, is expected to be unanimous.
Manfred, 60, has held the job since January 2015. Major League Baseball has achieved record revenues during his tenure and his team landed a very owner-friendly Collective Bargaining Agreement on his watch. In light of that there was zero question that he was going to be re-upped.
The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan report that Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name as recently as December. The fake name is Mason Saunders. Bumgarner explains that “Mason” is shortened from “Madison,” while “Saunders” is his wife’s maiden name.
Bumgarner — err, Saunders — and one of his rodeo partners, Jaxson Tucker, won $26,560 in a team-roping rodeo competition in December. The Rancho Rio Arena posted a picture of the pair on Facebook, highlighting that they roped four steers in 31.36 seconds.
As Baggarly and Buchanan point out, Bumgarner also pointed out in a rodeo competition last March, just a couple days before pitching in a Cactus League game versus the Athletics, back when he was still with the Giants.
Bumgarner suffered bruised ribs and a left shoulder AC sprain in 2017 when he got into a dirt bike accident. Given that, Bumgarner’s latest extracurricular activity does raise a concern for the Diamondbacks, who inked him to a five-year, $85 million contract two months ago. Baggarly and Buchanan asked Bumgarner about such a concern. Bumgarner referred them to the club’s managing partner Ken Kendrick. Kendrick directed them to GM Mike Hazen. Hazen declined speaking about “specific contract language.” For what it’s worth, Bumgarner says he primarily uses his right hand to rope.
The jig is up on Bumgarner’s hobby. He jokingly said to The Athletic’s pair, “I’m nervous about this interview right now.” He added, “I’m upset with both you two.”